Published May 02, 2016
A new list of donors to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation shows a marked surge in donations and the numbers of contributors to the family charity in the first half of this year -- at the same time that Hillary Rodham Clinton ramped up her campaign for the presidency.
Clinton Foundation officials said figures released Thursday show that overall giving to the charity is up compared to the first half of 2014. The foundation has declined to provide specific donation amounts or the precise timing of its thousands of contributions.
There have been more than 10,500 donors so far this year compared with 8,800 in the first half of last year, foundation officials said. As many as 40 separate donors previously listed by the foundation appeared to have been dropped without explanation on the new release. A foundation spokesman said late Thursday that in most cases those donors remained on the list, but were listed under alternate names at the request of the contributors.
The foundation's latest list shows that even as Hillary Clinton began campaigning and attending lucrative fundraisers in advance of the 2016 race, some of her top political supporters were increasing their donations to the Clinton Foundation, as were numerous corporations and foreign governments with interests before the U.S. government.
"We know that donors are giving more because they are seeing the impact of our work across the globe," said the foundation's new president, Donna Shalala, who was accompanying Bill and Hillary Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, on a tour of foundation programs in Haiti.
An Associated Press analysis of the list shows that donors increasing their stakes in the foundation during the first six months of this year included veteran Democratic fundraisers Haim Saban, S. Daniel Abraham and Barbara Streisand, either personally or through their charitable arms.
Shalala, who was Health and Human Services Secretary in Bill Clinton's administration, is among a number of Clinton loyalists who also boosted their donations this year. Others include Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining magnate who is one of the top donors to the foundation at more than $25 million, and data entrepreneur Vinod Gupta.
The Clintons themselves, through their private Clinton Family Foundation, also upped their ante to between $5 million and $10 million. In May, Hillary Clinton disclosed that she and her husband made more than $25 million from speeches over the past year and a half.
In some cases, new donations were substantial. This year's giving increased the total amount donated by the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation to more than $5 million. The foundation for the wealthy Pritzker family had previously given in the range of $1 million to $5 million. Penny Pritzker, secretary of commerce in the Obama administration, is a longtime Democratic fundraiser.
Major corporate interests either stepped up donations this year by giving directly or gave through their corporate foundations. Among them were Barclays, Citigroup and HSBC banks, Duke Energy, Cisco, Dell, Toyota and Chevron.
In about 40 cases, the foundation's list no longer carried the names of previously listed donors, including corporations, charities, partnerships, individual donors and the country of Germany. Foundation spokesman Craig Minassian said the entries were altered, not dropped. He added that "we did correct some names per the request of the organization or to make the listing accurately reflect who the donation was from." Minassian did not cite specific examples.
In other cases, the foundation altered the names of previously listed donors in ways as insignificant as adding an extra comma or hyphen in a corporate name, adding a person's middle initial or adding or removing the name of a donor's spouse, which can make it difficult to track contributions over time from the same sources. In some cases, changes were made to listings of names of people, companies or organizations that did not give any additional money during the first half of 2015.
The Clinton Foundation agreed earlier this year to stop taking funding from most foreign governments. Several nations that were exempted continued making contributions, including Australia, Norway and the Netherlands.
The foundation had previously tended to update its lists annually but agreed earlier this year to provide new figures for the first half of the year, followed by quarterly updates.